Lore:Great Spirits of the Reach: Volume 5
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Scholars often dismiss Reach theology as simple Daedra worship, but the great spirits of the Reachfolk extend beyond the Princes of Oblivion. Like many human cultures, people of the Reach venerate Lorkhan as well. They know him as Lorkh, the Spirit of Man, the Mortal Spirit, or the Sower of Flesh.
According to Reach myths, Lorkh convinced the Spirit Queen, Namira, to grant him a place in the infinite void where he could create a realm for wayward spirits. Rather than a vibrant paradise, Lorkh created a hard and painful place—a realm that taught through suffering. While some resent Lorkh's cruelty, most praise his wisdom. According to the Reachfolk, those who suffer most know best. Hardship is a means to wisdom and glory, and Lorkh provided hardship in ample supply.
Lorkh supposedly still walks among the mortals of Nirn. He appears only once in a great while, braving the pain and sorrow of the cruel world he created to aid the Reachfolk in times of desperate need. My research indicates that the dreaded briarheart ritual may have begun as a reflection of that immortal sacrifice.